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The Mean Deviation

The two methods of dispersion discussed above, namely, range and quartile deviation, are not measures of dispersion in the strict sense of the term because they do not show the scatterness around as average. However, to study the formation of a distribution we should take the deviation and the standard deviation, help us in achieving this goal.

The mean deviation is also known as the average deviation. It is the average difference between the items in a distribution form the median or mean of that series. Theoretically, there is an advantage in taking the deviations from median because the sum of the deviations of items from median is minimum when signs are ignored. However, in practice, the arithmetic mean is more frequently used in calculating the value of average deviation and this is the reason why it is more commonly called mean deviation. In any case, the average used must be clearly stated in a given problem so that any possible confusion in meaning is avoided.

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